Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Design Build?
    • Design-Build is when one entity provides both Architectural design and Construction services. Here at Letter Four we do things a bit differently than others that offer Design-Build as Jeremy and Lauren are 50/50 partners in Letter Four and that means that we work on our projects together from start to finish. At other firms you will often find that a contractor brings in an architect or designer or vice versa. We think it is important to know the ins and outs of each of our projects from start to finish to streamline the process for our clients.
  • Why is it beneficial for a potential client to hire a Design-Build firm like Letter Four rather than hiring an architect and contractor separately?
    • Efficiency! The fact that the construction side of the business can be involved in the design from it’s early stages all the way through to design completion and permitting means that we’re budgeting throughout the project and designing to our clients’ budgets. Also, having the architectural team at an arm’s length during construction to answer questions really streamlines the process. It cuts down on the amount of hours needed on the project internally, and cuts down on schedule and cost delays on site. That streamlined process is incredibly beneficial to our clients.
  • I have a friend who is a contractor and I only want to hire Letter Four for architectural design services. Is that an option?
    • Yes! That definitely is an option. We can provide you with architectural design-only or construction-only services. Although, easily 90%+ of our projects are Design-Build we do offer a lot of other services to clients. You do not have to sign on for the full scope. We can also help you compare apples to apples when it comes time to bid on the construction end, so if you would like to compare your contractor’s bid to ours or someone else’s we can help with that.
  • Let’s say I just bought a house. It’s only 1,000 square feet and it’s a little too small for my family so we would like to add a second story and potentially convert the garage into an ADU. How much would that cost?
    • Great question! We get it a lot. Because you are talking about a remodel and adding a second story it would be challenging to give you an early budget simply based on a square footage number. We do a breakdown of existing, remaining, affected, and new square footage, as well as site conditions to then calculate and total all of those areas and come up with a preliminary budget for you. We just need a little bit more information on the project. It is easier to give a preliminary budget for new construction. Right now new construction is ranging somewhere around $300-$325 a square foot on our projects.
  • Can you provide me with an estimate?
    • As we’re sure you can imagine, it is not possible to provide a detailed estimate without a project design. We can, however, provide pricing on a per square foot basis only, which is based upon the level of quality and data gathered from similar past projects. We provide pricing throughout the project during several design phases to ensure that our projects are designed on-budget. The first round of pricing happens upon completion of the Conceptual Design phase, at which point pricing is based on project scope, level of quality, and existing conditions. We provide our first itemized bid at the end of the Design Development phase as we have structural engineering, other consultant documentation, and project details developed at that time. Our final round of pricing will happen towards the end of the construction documentation phase after you have made your FF&E selections, and we have received the city’s comments from their review of your project plans.
  • Do you do landscaping?
    • We do not offer landscape design but we do provide hardscape, which includes paving, retaining walls, pools, decking, etc. to make sure that our design has a great indoor/outdoor connection and flow. We have worked with some wonderful landscape designers/architects on previous projects that we can recommend. We are also happy to coordinate their work to ensure the design is cohesive with our architectural design.
  • What's your experience with commercial work?
    • Our General Contractor, Jeremy Baker, started his career in design and construction management in the commercial/hospitality arena in 1999. Jeremy began working with brands like Free People, Urban Outfitters, and North Face among many other boutique retail and restaurant brands. LETTER FOUR opened several locations for Vince and Jonathan Adler. Over the course of business, we have designed and built gyms, restaurants, retail stores, and office spaces all over the country.
  • Do you design and build multi-family?
    • Yes! We do. We have designed duplexes, 4-5 unit apartment buildings at 3-4 stories, as well as small-lot subdivisions.
  • What does it take to build a ground-up home?
    • If you’d like to build a new home you’ll need a piece of property, funds, and a dedicated team to ensure a seamless design and build process from start to finish. While the cost and timeline required for new construction typically exceeds those of a remodel, it allow the homeowner to create a beautiful, custom dream home that may not be achievable with a remodel.
  • Is it cheaper to buy a home or build one?
    • Whether it’s cheaper to buy or build new can vary based upon location, site specifics, existing conditions, design and programmatic needs, and quality level, among other factors. The time it takes to move into a newly purchased home tends to be shorter than building new, however, you are able to customize more when building new or remodeling than with a purchase-only.
  • What is my project going to cost?
    • Project costs are determined by location, site specifics, existing conditions, and programmatic needs. Schedule a meeting to discuss your project with us so that we can advise on project costs and constraints. Architectural costs can range from 6-20% of construction cost based upon project size, with smaller projects resulting in a higher percentage as a certain amount of work is required for any project.
  • What is the best investment you can make in your home?
  • What are your clients looking for in their projects?
    • Our clients typically aim to increase resale value, create indoor/outdoor flow/living, create a primary suite with separate tub and shower and WC, to increase bedroom count, to have an ensuite bathroom for each bedroom, to create home office space or a small office nook, to add a pool, and to have high ceilings and natural light.
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